2019 Board of Directors Elections

In February of this year, we will be holding our 2019 Board of Directors Elections.  The following positions are up for election:

  • All members worldwide will vote for At Large World Wide Director. 
  • Some members will also vote for the Director for their district.  

Ballot packages are being designed specifically for your district.  Your ballot package will include candidate statements.  

As in 2018, we will be conducting a hybrid election in that members will not receive their ballots in the magazine. Using the magazine to distribute the ballot is one of the highest organizational costs.  Last year’s elections were successfully performed using a combination of electronic voting and ballots distributed through the mail.  Eligible U.S. members with an email address on file will be invited to vote electronically through Electionbuddy, a secure online voting system.  Eligible non-U.S. members with an email address on file will receive their ballot through email. All eligible members who do not have an email address on file will receive their ballot via postal mail.

You should start seeing either an email about the election or a ballot in the mail sometime after January 25, 2019.  U.S. Electionbuddy voting opens February 1.   Voting closes March 1.  Please take the time to vote, and thank you for being a member of the NMRA.

Rick Coble
Secretary, National Model Railroad Association

Candidate Statements



I am Ray deBlieck and I am running for the position of At Large World Wide Director.

I have worked at all levels, national, regional and divisional within NMRA in a variety of positions since the mid 1980’s.  I have served as a regional director, served as chair of two regional conventions and served four years as regional (PCR) president . I have served as both regional and national convention manager. I served six years on the national Board of Trustees and Director. I was a member of the committee that rewrote the regulations (bylaws) in restructuring the membership in the early 2000s.

I have served as chair of the 2000 San Jose and 2011 Sacramento national conventions and currently hold the position of NMRA convention manager as well as chair of the 2021 Santa Clara national convention.

I am running for the board of directors because I want to help the organization and the direction we are headed. For years I have been a huge supporter of NMRA expanding outside of our traditional membership, specifically, in our affiliation and association with other modeling and prototype railroad groups. One of my early goals in working in conventions was to include in conventions those very groups. At both the regional and nation levels, we have succeeded in bringing in some Special Interest Groups (SIGs). We have had very strong and active participation with groups such as Layout Design and Operations SIGs, among others, to the point where in KC, the annual membership meeting was moved a day in the schedule because several board members, officers and Dept Managers were participating in SIG layout tours. We don’t always get a count breakdown, but some years our convention registration has been well over 50% SIG people. This is all great, but it does not go far enough. I would like to see not just convention participation but bring many of the SIG or similar groups into a more active affiliation with NMRA. I see that type of outreach as a key to NMRA growth.

We need to start looking outward to expand not just our membership, but our influence in the hobby. I’d like to work on doing that.



I am Jack Hamilton, a member from the Pacific Northwest Region. I was honored to greet many of you to Seattle as the Vice Chair of the 2004 NMRA Convention. You may also recognize me as The Tool Junkie.

My primary interests as a member and elected official have been improvement of NMRA programs and benefits and more effective delivery of services to members. I am a strong advocate of bringing service to members at the Division level.

I have served for six years as PNR President and six years as NMRA Western District Director. As your Director, I was tasked to chair the Long Range Planning Committee and the Recruiting and Retention Committee. In both those assignments, we sought broad-based input and support. The plans presented to the Board were adopted and implemented. Those results are available on the NMRA website. I also contributed to early work in the current partnership program and the Build a Memory module program.

I am a strong advocate for effective communications with membership. In PNR, we initiated use of Constant Contact to better reach our members. Through demonstrated effectiveness and persistence, I convinced the Board to also adopt use of the system, which you see in use today in the eBulletin.

Our NMRA education programs are essential to the health and growth of the Association. Effective educational offerings are the key to retention and a positive recruiting effort. I will work to see EduTrain and programs like Modeling With The Masters made more effective and available to all members. I have served as PNR Achievement Program manager for 11 years. Through innovation and directed action we have increased the level of participation and involved more members in that program. Our extensive use of “team” visits has made the program easier for members to participate and be successful. AP is a primary member benefit that should be easy for members to participate in.

My objectives as At-Large Worldwide Director are to improve and enhance NMRA activity and support for members at the Division level, to expand and improve current programs that offer tangible benefits to members, and to develop new programs that will encourage increased member participation. My record of action-oriented leadership from the front is clear. I pledge the time and energy necessary to be an effective Director for you.



I began model railroading before the age of ten, almost immediately learning to scratchbuild rolling stock and structures as a way to afford modeling on a small allowance. After a hiatus through college and early years of my career, I returned to the hobby in the late 1980s, becoming a charter member of a local club and joining the NMRA in 1989. I became Master Model Railroader #334 in 2004. 

The NMRA has been an important part of my model railroading life. At the Division level, I served as Editor, Assistant Superintendent, and Superintendent. I am in my third year as Vice President of the Mid-Central Region. I worked on organizing committees for several MCR annual conventions, including clinics chair and General Chair in 2006. 

I am a geologist by education and work life, retiring as Director and State Geologist for the West Virginia Geological Survey in 2017. My job required me to advise the administration, speak to the legislature, and respond to concerns from the public on the economic geology and natural hazards of West Virginia. I was editor-in-chief for a scientific journal and officer for several associations, including 13 years for the International Association for Mathematical Geology. I have served on governing bodies for local charities, an athletic association, and our church. My personal style in service is to respect all members of boards and organizations, seek consensus, strive for efficient operation, welcome new ideas, and set a good example. 

Every level of the NMRA – Division, Region, National – has an important role. Many have commented on the NMRA being a grassroots organization, with many member benefits actually being realized at the local level. In addition to carrying out its mandate in such areas as setting standards for scales, track, rolling stock, locomotives, and electronics, the NMRA must provide appropriate support for activities at Region and Division levels. This includes maintaining a healthy insurance program, helping Divisions achieve nonprofit status, providing online clinics for Divisions seeking programs for monthly events, and passing down best practices in designing welcoming and informative websites.

We should continue to think about ways to maintain membership levels, perhaps following the example of many nonprofit organizations by encouraging sustaining membership. I am humbled by the invitation to run for office, and if elected I will strive to do my best.



As a longtime model railroader, I procrastinated about joining the NMRA. But once I joined, I quickly found out what I’d been missing. I’ve grown to know how important this organization is to cultivating the hobby and helping modelers grow to their highest potential. The relationships that I’ve made and the opportunities that I have been afforded through my membership have truly enriched my life, and for that I’m sincerely grateful.

 Based on that, I have embedded myself into this organization as thoroughly and quickly as I could. I’ve served on multiple committees for the Lone Star Region. I filled roles as needed for the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Regional conventions. I accepted the responsibility of serving as co-chairman for the 2016 convention. I also assisted with recruiting booth for the NMRA at the National Sn3 Symposium held in Irving, Texas, in 2014.

My home HO and HOn3 layout, the Texas & St. Louis, is a prototypically correct precursor to the St. Louis & Southwestern (Cotton Belt). It’s scheduled to be on the 2018 Sn3 Symposium layout tours in Dallas.

I served as Regional membership co-chair, where I’ve enjoyed helping with membership drives and recruiting seminars at events around the Region. I enjoy modeling competitions and earned merit awards on multiple occasions. Those awards allowed me complete my MMR certification (#573). I am now working to earn all 11 certificates.

I started the first of my own companies in 1979, and since then I have founded four different firms in various fields. I believe this business skill and knowledge will be a major asset to the NMRA.

Serving as a leader in other organizations, I have consistently assisted achieving set goals. My résumé includes being an Eagle Scout; president of the Palestine, Tex., Jaycees; president of the Dallas/Fort Worth Marine Aquarium Society; Master Model Railroader; Regional membership co-chair; Director of Lone Star Region Division 1; 2016 Lone Star Super Regional convention chair; recipient of the 2017 Lone Star Region President’s Award for Outstanding Service; and service on the board of directors of three model railroad clubs.

It is my desire to serve our organization to an even greater extent. For that reason, I request your vote toward the office I am seeking. I welcome the opportunity to continue to serve this organization, and to provide strong leadership during my term of office.



I am 31 years old, live in the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland and work for an IT company based in Edinburgh and Atlanta, GA that provides revenue cycle solutions to the US Healthcare market. After graduating high school at 16, I served almost four years as a marine engineering officer in the British military and graduated from Britannia Royal Naval College in 2004. I joined my current employer in 2016 following nine years in management for the UK Heath Service. As the IT company’s main business is in the US, this provides many opportunities to meet NMRA members, attend events and visit Divisions and Clubs throughout the US and Canada.

I joined the NMRA in 2014 after attending my local Division the Calder Northern Division in north west England as a teenager. When I moved to Scotland in 2016, I became extremely active in my local NMRA Division, organising Division meets and bringing modelers back to the NMRA. I am the Media & Events Coordinator for the British Region and provide support to the NMRA Social Media team. Many of you may have conversed with me on Social Media or heard me on the A Modeler’s Life podcast advocating the NMRA to listeners around the world.

The NMRA has done a great deal for the hobby, however, with the advent of the internet the traditional model of membership-based organisations, it is at risk of becoming unsustainable.

As At-Large Worldwide Director I would use my leadership to see the NMRA:

  • Introduce a modern corporate infrastructure with an electronic membership system for worldwide use, a simplified website and mobile application for members
  • Grow its presence in digital media to embrace the opportunities to spread awareness of the NMRA
  • Continue to improve membership benefits for all NMRA members
  • Introduce a system of continual consultation with members to ensure we have an open organisation that listens to its membership
  • Ensure the NMRA is sustainable for the future and addresses the issues of membership fees, the magazine and its place within the future of the hobby
  • Encompass many scales and interests

I hope you will allow me to use my skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to represent all members of the NMRA and ensure we have a future-proof organisation for our children and grandchildren. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at gordonrobinson80 [at] hotmail.com




I live in East Sussex, United Kingdom, and joined the NMRA in 1996 after discovering North American railroads on two trips to Florida and through Ian Lampkin’s “Fort Myers” layout articles in the model press.

I am 66 years old and retired in 2014, having spent my working life as a tax consultant, with HM Customs & Excise. I have enjoyed a love affair with trains nearly all my life. My hobby interests are modeling the former SP Sunset Route in Texas in HO, operating with DCC and car cards/waybills, and retaining a keen interest in British Railways Southern Region in the 1960s in OO.

In all that I do, whether as a Division, Region or National officer, I always endeavour to add value to membership. That commitment is undiminished. My commitment to the NMRA started in 1998 when I volunteered as the Eastern Division Representative and generated fresh activity. With the assistance of other local members, we founded two new groups that are still active today.

When I relocated into the South Eastern Division, I founded another new group for Kent & East Sussex and encouraged another member to lead a new group in Surrey, bringing the total of active groups there to four. I produce regular newsletters for the Division and my old group in Essex. The enthusiasm and commitment to create genuine activity and events, coupled with strong communication, not only help grow membership but retain it. I shall continue to do all in my power to achieve that going forwards.

In addition to the above, I have also served British Region in the following capacities:

  • Treasurer 2004–2007
  • Vice President 2007–2009 and 2013–2014
  • President 2014–2016.

In my time as Vice President in 2013, I introduced the Region’s electronic newsletter BRe-news. In 2014, I introduced a supplement to Roundhouse entitled “Back2Basics,” which appears in most issues, writing some and, with the assistance of an editorial team, commissioning the remainder. We have a full slate of subjects until 2020. I also contribute articles to Roundhouse, sharing know-how.

I was appointed by the President mid-term as Atlantic District Director in November 2017, and I have therefore had my sleeves already rolled up as I deal with current issues. My promise to you all is to continue in the foregoing manner, to bring added value to membership, wherever you reside.




It is with great enthusiasm that I submit my application to serve as Western District Director. I was the NMRA RAC Director and NMRA Magazine editor for 10 years. I offered several proposals and spearheaded projects I felt were critical to the wellbeing and longevity of our Association and the hobby in general:

•    creating a stronger link to the NMRA-affiliated Special Interest Groups that add a wider dimension to our National and Regional conventions

•    creating an extensive online digital archive (archive.nmra.org), allowing members and non-members to access high-resolution drawings, images, and information from the comfort of their home

•    working to revamp the existing NMRA website, providing a better web experience for members and non-members alike

•    working to complete the sale of the NMRA Headquarters building in Chattanooga

•    redesigning and re-branding Scale Rails into the NMRA Magazine, which continues to be a concise and on-time conduit for communicating with the membership

•    working to find ways to retain existing members while recruiting new ones

•    helping to create a revitalized brand for the NMRA that is apparent across our entire product line and especially on our website and in our monthly magazine

•    spearheading the Layout Command Control (LCC) initiative

•    designing and building the “Build a Memory” layout to demonstrate to the general public how to build a small railroad from start to finish

•    chairing the 2018 NMRA National Convention in Kansas City.

Despite heartening progress, the work is far from done. I am therefore asking for your support of my candidacy for Western Director.

Non-profit organizations such as the NMRA must have engaged leadership to remain relevant and vital. The NMRA is not the only entity working tirelessly to promote the hobby. Establishing and maintaining partnerships and alliances is a crucial component of the hobby’s growth. We need to seek out more collaboration on innovative projects that will benefit the model railroading community as a whole.

Model railroading is an integral part of my daily life, both professionally and personally. I desire to give back to the hobby and the membership, working with manufacturers and others in the hobby, so future generations can benefit from the NMRA’s efforts to keep model railroading an enjoyable and viable hobby. I would consider it an honor to serve on the Board. – Stephen M. Priest, MMR